Turkey, for whom the Events of 1915 is an important foreign policy topic, is taking steps to better respond to so-called Armenian genocide claims, and develop new strategies about the subject. During the Presidential High Advisory Board (HAB) meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the proposition was made to “establish an autonomous and civilian structure” for the Events of 1915. The information was obtained that President Erdoğan found the proposition suitable and instructed the necessary works to be conducted.
According to the news report by Hürriyet newspaper, the proposition about the said structure was brought to the agenda during the previous months when the US Congress discussed a new Armenian bill, and lawsuits filed by Armenians were being deliberated in US courts. However, the related meeting was delayed and could only be held in the previous weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
BRIEFING BY ÇİÇEK AND SERTÇELİK
In the High Advisory Board meeting, HAB member Cemil Çiçek, who put forward the proposition, and Seyit Sertçelik, Key Advisor to the President, gave a briefing. In the meeting, where it was stated that Turkey does not have a single institution that deals with the so-called Armenian genocide claims and generates arguments and strategies, it was indicated that related ministries get involved depending on the particular subject but no integrated policy could be developed. Whereas it was reminded that the subject, followed by the National Security Council (NSC) in the past, was transferred to the Prime Ministry Center for Recent History Research with the law amendment of 2015, it was indicated that this center became obsolete after the abolishment of Prime Ministry. In the meeting, where it was stressed that an institution is required that will deal with not only the political but also the cultural, historical and legal aspects of the issue as well as its propaganda aspect, it was decided that this institution should be an autonomous and civilian structure with no direct ties to the government and state.
CHANGE OF STRATEGY IN ACTIVITIES
In the High Advisory Board meeting, it was stated that the Armenian lobby did not introduce the so-called genocide claims to the International Court of Justice due to the possibility of rejection, but has changed strategies in the recent period. In the meeting, it was indicated that lobbying activities are now trying to be centered around “crime of humanity” instead of “genocide”. Moreover, the related report prepared by five universities was examined.
The information was obtained that President Erdoğan agrees with the suggestions put forward in the meeting, and instructed the necessary works to be completed as soon as possible.